As a multimedia journalism student I should hope for the success of cable news.
After a steady decline in average viewership, the 2016 election cycle seems to have brought prime-time and overall viewership back into an upward swing.
Both revenue and newsroom spending for cable news has also steadily increased, a good sign for my personal post-graduation job prospects.
Local affiliate stations offer hyper-local news programs that provide information I’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere besides my local newspaper.
But I’m most likely to get my news online, just like 50% of my fellow millennials.
As someone who has friends and former co-workers in the cable news business, I wouldn’t wish for their stations and programs to be shut down.
But regardless of the statistics, advantages of the format and my friends in the industry, I firmly believe we’d be better off without cable news-at least in its current form.
I haven’t watched cable television since the Super Bowl and before that I only watched cable news for election night.
Most of the political coverage and debates were streamed online and I found no reason to stick around to get “expert analysis” from CNN, MSNBC or Fox News commentators.
While President Trump’s rise to power has been entertaining, his hyperbolic comments on the death of the media has fueled him and the industry he has targeted.
Still, the modern cable news program seems to serve no greater purpose than react to whatever crazy statement the Trump administration said that day.
The visual aspect of storytelling cable news used to have over newspapers and magazines has now been eclipsed by internet based news sites.
Publications like Now This and TheBlaze have risen to prominence across Facebook and Twitter feeds for their easily digestible video content and controversial program hosts like Tomi Lahren.
Even the traditional cable news networks offer convenient links to the same videos and articles they talk about on television through their social media and online websites.
In a world of instant gratification through the internet, there’s simply no reason to watch cable news programs that require you to wade through the muck just to find the content you’re looking for.
One could argue that this new age of news is shortening our attention spans and encouraging the “rush to be first” breaking news mentality that stimulates inaccuracies.
But I would argue that news is headed this direction no matter what format we get our news.
The days of standardized local news “stand-up” stories and CNN pitting a panel of Trump and Clinton supporters against each other has done nothing but push me away.
I’m annoyed and exhausted with news programs that are driven through controversy for the sake of profits and attracting advertisers.
In an ideal world, I see the media being funded on a subscription basis, one that would allow the stories to be told without the outside influence of ads and sponsored products in-between every story.
Platforms like Patreon.com already provide a way for me to directly fund entertainment and programs I enjoy, while also giving me the power to influence the type of stories and content my favorite creators make.
This subscription based funding of media doesn’t facilitate a bright future for cable news, but then again neither does our current path of news digestion.
A 9-year-old with a smartphone and Facebook live can be considered a journalist.
Youtubers and vloggers can accrue larger daily audiences than many cable news programs.
Whether this is good or bad for the industry as a whole is a matter of perspective.
From my perspective, despite recent increases in viewership, cable news is on the way out.
Once the presidency of Donald Trump ends, cable news will become stale and ratings will settle into another plateau before declining again.
The journalism industry as a whole and those who engage in the content produced from it would be better off if the death of cable news was expedited.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
Cover Photo Credit: Steven Depolo/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)